Arby’s makes return on N. Ed Carey Drive

HARLINGEN — Out with the Popeye’s, and in with the Arby’s.

Arby’s, the second-largest quick-service sandwich chain in the United States, is returning to the Rio Grande Valley after a decade’s absence.

The new restaurant will be located at 1325 N. Ed Carey Drive and will replace the Popeye’s restaurant which closed last week.

A sign draped across the front of the Popeye’s location urges customers to visit its other location in the city at 722 Dixieland Drive.

The new Arby’s is owned by Turbo Restaurants LLC, a Dallas-based company that has strong ties to Arby’s Restaurant Group Inc., parent company of the brand.

Arby’s Restaurant Group announced early this year that it had signed an agreement with Turbo that would see it open 15 restaurants over the next five years in the Houston market.

A previous agreement committed Turbo to opening 15 new Arby’s restaurants in the Dallas market.

The new Harlingen Arby’s will be built on the site of the Popeye’s and will be constructed based on the relatively new Arby’s “Inspire” design, Jason Rollins, a spokesman for Arby’s, said yesterday.

Rollins did not have an estimate of when the new Arby’s would open, saying the design and construction would have to traverse both state and local regulations before construction could begin.

The new Insight design eliminates the overhanging red roof, replacing it with a more modern exterior. Inside the restaurants feature multi-colored wood and modern lighting, stainless steel and chalkboard graphics.

Arby’s formerly had a restaurant in Harlingen at 2005 Lincoln Avenue, a site now occupied by Panda Express.

Arby’s had an industry-leading same-store sales increase of 8.1 percent in 2015, which was more than three times the growth rate in the rest of the quick-service restaurant industry, the company claims.